The last two weeks have definitely involved reflection for me, an unaccustomed state with all that normally happens. Officially on vacation from work (still peeking at the emails each morning- confess, you do it too), and of course I submitted Book Four to Findaway Voices last week, so the audiobook series is finally out the door. Christmas light drive was Wednesday night and now I’m waiting on the big day and musing about what actually hit me in 2018, as well as what’s to come next.
2018 Year in Review: One Big New Thing
I did some of the more usual authorly stuff in the past year:
- Fairs- Smyrna Opera House (Feb), Cecil ComicCon (Apr), Dover ComicCon (Aug)
- Library Talks- April (‘By’ the Cover) and December (I Can Show You)
I sold some copies, met some folks, and I think I generally made a good impression. Most of all these gigs are FUN. For me. I’m so aggressively extroverted I would never pass up a chance to be in front of customers, fellow authors– really anyone who will stand still and listen to me talk is a friend in my book. What can I say, I’m easily pleased. I want to keep all these on my docket for 2019 and hopefully add at least one more fair (Ocean City ComicCon, which I hear is great but was far away and conflicted with a rehearsal for my daughter’s schooling).
The Traditional Thing
There was also some writing. Specifically, I lobbed out drafts of three short pieces (going into the Tales of Hope collection, where I’m aiming for a second volume at about twice the total size as current). I got good feedback but haven’t polished them yet. Also I created a “tall tale” that will be the seed for a longer piece about the origins of the hero Treaman, perhaps called “The Crust Runner”. As I reflect on my world, this well-traveled young Woodsman has to rank as one of the greatest and most important heroes of the new generation; and if Solemn Judgement has an origin, why not Treaman? It could be a short story, or perhaps a novelette, I still have to flesh this out and I’m looking forward to that in January (as I complete it for my assignment in Myth-Fantasy Writing!).
But far and away, what I did in 2018 was record my voice.
A Lot Like Writing
I can’t imagine how many hours I spent, just recording. Two hundred, maybe? Probably less, but then the editing, production effects, totaling the files and shipping them off with bated breath to my distributor.
And the waiting. That counts too. That WAS hundreds of hours.
Rejection, don’t forget that part- especially early on there was lots of learn-by-doing-wrong (most people drop that last word, but I’m being honest here). The big audio houses have fairly tough technical requirements and I kept getting little things wrong. But the pipeline APPEARS to be moving smoothly now- The Ring and the Flag and Fencing Reputation are out (book 2 still waiting on Audible); Perilous Embraces entered distribution as of December 19th and should be popping up in various outlets soon; Shards of Light is awaiting technical checks but was recorded in identical fashion to the others so I anticipate it will go through. Maybe in time for Christmas?
I signed onto Findaway’s new Voices Plus service, a no-brainer for someone in my position. If you distribute to every partner and only use Findaway to do it, you can qualify for a few extra perks including piracy protection (which certainly caught my eye), and maybe a slice of preferential treatment when new abilities come to the platform. I certainly have no bandwidth to seek alternatives, so this seemed a great option for me. At least the next six months, I’m in.
I’m mentally quite exhausted by the effort to record, post and blog about my audiobooks but I am also proud of my efforts. I had no earthly notion it would suck up 90+% of my writing time for the entire year, so I will have to be careful about making promises to myself or others in future. But if the sales do at all well I would probably consider continuing to narrate in some capacity.
2019 Plans: Several Smaller Things
Much of this you can already guess.
- The same fairs, plus one
- Hoping for two or three library talks
- Polish those three drafted short tales (perhaps add one or two more)
- Grow the story-seed of Treaman’s origin into a short tale or novelette
- Return to actually blogging sometimes. I will edit my world-building library talk into a six-bullet series which should be easy to take in, hopefully helpful to aspiring authors (and amusing to interested readers). After that, I have a few ideas.
- Then back to writing for real with my long-abandoned start of The Test of Fire. This sequel to The Plane of Dreams is actually the end of the trilogy (the first book has yet to be written, so sue me). It is a ripping good tale, focusing more strongly on one of the terrific characters in that someday-to-be-middle book, the young knight Qerlak and his close companion the human Dream-seer Galethiel as they fight for what’s right on several levels. Can I finish this ~100k novel with less than 20k drafted? Probably yes! But that’s assuming a lot goes right for me and my family, which was never a wise bet
Like life itself, it’s an adventure and we’ll have to see. But as my college motto says:
Laying it on a bit thick? Maybe. But this is the time of year to feel ambitious. Remind me in May and we can both look back and laugh.
All the best to those reading my blog so faithfully; here’s to success whatever your plans for 2019 (unless your plans involve becoming a famous new epic fantasy author- I’m not secure enough to wish you well in that!).